New code enforcement officer eyes ‘fresh approach’

OBSERVER Photo by Jo Ward New city of Dunkirk Code Enforcement Officer Glenn Christner.

The city of Dunkirk has a new Code Enforcement Officer. Glenn Christner, an architect from Hamburg with 23 years of experience, recently took the position previously held by Allan Zurawski.

Christner holds a master’s degree from Clemson University and was certified by the state of New York in 2013. As of recently he was the deputy code enforcement official from the village of Boston and when he heard about the position in Dunkirk he felt he’d met the qualifications they were looking for.

“I’ve worked in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia before coming to New York,” Christner told the OBSERVER on Thursday. “So I have a familiarity of what’s going on beyond our city.”

Code enforcement is a required position in every municipality and with all the new projects popping up around the city this year, a dire necessity for it’s residents.

“I bring my experience and my professionality in working with potential development,” Christner stated. “In my past experience as an architect, I developed a specialty with existing buildings, which attracted me to Dunkirk, because Dunkirk has such a stock of existing and historic buildings”

Working as an architect in Hamburg, Christner had a lot of experience in development of older buildings and facade improvements, which will come in handy with the revitalization of the Dunkirk’s downtown area.

“We need to bring that proactive approach to the city, I think they’ve already had a good start to it,” he added.

Warren Kelly, who was acting as the interim Code Enforcement Officer since September of 2018 will be staying on until November of this year to assist Christner in becoming accustomed to what is happening around the area.

“Some of the newer projects are quite complicated, like the industrial ones and the potential hotel developments, but I have a familiarity with the code from back before the state started adopting new building codes. I’m familiar with how codes had evolved,” Christner said. He believes that having such knowledge will become especially helpful when applied to the older buildings in town.

“My role is assisting to educate property owners with the building code and how it applies to them,” Christner elaborated. “I’m bringing a new, fresh approach to this. Right now I’m working on the application process to make it more familiar to what’s going on in other municipalities around the area. This will help contractors, even though their not here, when they come in, they’ll see something that they’re used to seeing. It’s not exactly business as usual, but at the same time we’re trying to be more approachable and progressive. The coding is here to protect people, the zoning is here to protect the properties.”